Surveyor’s staff keeps drains flowing
By Kitty Conley email@example.com January 22, 2013 12:20PM
Muck was pulled out of storm drains by the Lake County Drainage Board which could have flowed through into the Crown Point Storm Sewer System. | Photo Provided~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 22, 2013 12:20PM
CROWN POINT — Lake County Surveyor George VanTil keeps the Lake County Drainage Board appraised of the work that his department does in keeping regulated drains clean.
And on Jan. 16 the tally of cleaning work was close to home — the parking lots surrounding the Lake County Government Center on North Main Street.
According to Assistant Drainage Administrator Chris Brown, in the first half of December 2012 he and the staff cleaned out the 18 filters in the catch basins that serve the parking lots. They cleaned out sediment from there that otherwise would have flowed through the system and gone into the Crown Point storm sewer system, taking the muck to Beaver Dam Ditch and out to Lake Michigan.
There are two filters in the drain openings. The other one is a hydrocarbon filter. It turns first pink and then darker red as it collects fossil fuels from runoff from the parking lots. That includes all fossil fuels, such as gas, oil and also includes asphalt.
If not regularly cleaned the muck could build up within the filters and cause flooding of the parking lots around the government center.
Brown said, “It included sediment and sand as well as garbage. In the winter the county doesn’t put salt on the parking lot, they use cinders to cut down the ice.”
That added to the sediment in the muck pulled out of the filters. Pieces of plastic bottles and papers dropped in the parking lot added to the debris.
This would be typical of what most parking lots collect and dump into the stormwater drains. Regular cleaning by the owners of the parking lots would go far in keeping this out of the regulated drains around the city and county.
The county spends millions of dollars every year in keeping the regulated drains clean. Sediment dumped into the regulated and unregulated ditches lead to overgrown drainage ditches.